Seafood Heaven in Hakodate – Sea Urchin

I can almost say, it is no doubt that seafood taste better in Hokkaido than anywhere else in Japan! During my recent trip to Hakodate, it’s like a seafood fiesta, and sea urchin is one that should not be missed!

Travel_Hokkaido_Hakodate_Restaurant_Uni_Murakami_北海道_函館_むらかみ_海膽飯

Although Japan is not the only place that have sea urchin, other countries such as Canada, Korea also have them, but, the ones in Japan is still the top of the rank! There is a very famous sea urchin restaurant inside the Hakodate Seafood market called Murakami (むらかみ), and is popular amongst both the locals and the tourists. Although you cannot order which sea urchin, but instead, the chef will only serve you the seasonal best at that time.

We went there around 11:30am on a weekday, and there was already a line waiting. We waited for about half an hour before we were seated. The restaurant is quite small, and can only accommodate approximately 30 customers at one time. The lunch menu is also quite simple, ranging from around 1500yen to 5000yen per dish.

We came here for the sea urchin, so we have ordered 3 different menus all having sea urchin in it. The first one is the uni-don (sea urchin on rice), this is the simplest menu, letting you to taste the original sweetness of the sea urchin. The second dish we had was the uni chatsuke (sea urchin rice in tea broth), which is something I’ve never tried before. Taste wasn’t too bad, but I’m not quite used to having the sea urchin semi-hot with the hot broth. The last dish we had was the mix sea urchin congee, and it tasted so good! You can taste the strong aroma and sweetness in the congee, and it’s a great way to warm yourself up in the winter!

If you ever visit Hakodate, and you are a sea urchin fan, I would definitely recommend you to visit this restaurant! Remember to come here a bit earlier to avoid the long queer.

Murakami Website

Colourful Spring Time in Hakodate Hokkaido – Goryokaku Park

It’s been over 2 months since I last updated my blog, and it’s quite a contrast that my last post was something that happened in Okinawa (the South-est part of Japan), while this post is going to talk about Hokkaido (the North-est part of Japan).

So during my month long’s business trip in Japan last month, I decided to try to take a 4 hours bullet train ride from Tokyo to Hakodate City of Hokkaido. As Hokkaido is the North-est part of Japan, it also means that it gets cold the quickest, which leads to the earliest viewing of maple leaves/red leaves in the whole of Japan. I visited in mid October, and the leaves were already 80% red!

Travel_Japan_Hakkaido_Hakodate_Goryokaku_Park_Autumn_Maple_Red_Leaves_秋天_紅葉_日本_北海道_旅遊_五稜郭

Travel_Japan_Hakkaido_Hakodate_Goryokaku_Park_Autumn_Maple_Red_Leaves_秋天_紅葉_日本_北海道_旅遊_五稜郭
Just the street of Hakodate – Ginko Trees

Although you can view the beauty of red leaves nearly in all part of the city, there are a few spots which are highly recommended, one being the Goryokaku Tower and Park (五稜郭). The original site was a pentagonal shaped fortress with inspiration from the French architect Vauban, the design allows for greater numbers of gun emplacements on its walls than a traditional Japanese fortress, and reduced the number of blind spots where a cannon could not fire.

Travel_Japan_Hakkaido_Hakodate_Goryokaku_Park_Autumn_Maple_Red_Leaves_秋天_紅葉_日本_北海道_旅遊_五稜郭Travel_Japan_Hakkaido_Hakodate_Goryokaku_Park_Autumn_Maple_Red_Leaves_秋天_紅葉_日本_北海道_旅遊_五稜郭Travel_Japan_Hakkaido_Hakodate_Goryokaku_Park_Autumn_Maple_Red_Leaves_秋天_紅葉_日本_北海道_旅遊_五稜郭

Continue reading “Colourful Spring Time in Hakodate Hokkaido – Goryokaku Park”

Pay Attention to the T&C When Renting a Car in Japan – Learn from My Mistake

So I’ve just came back from a family trip in Ishigaki Island of Okinawa, and had an amazing time. Before I start writing about this wonderful island of Japan, I’d like to first share with you a little learning I’ve got from my car rental this time.

I’ve done so many car rentals thru out Japan, with both big and small companies. I usually tend to rent from bigger dealers as they seems to be more trust worthy, and their websites are usually fairly easy to navigate around.

This time, as I was travelling with my family in a group of 11 people, we wanted to rent the bigger people movers. After looking thru both English and Japanese websites, there’s only one car rental company that had the car we wanted during that period, so with no choice, we went with them. I did some google search of this company, and they seem very legit and have high ratings.

On the date of arrival, we waited for about 20 minutes, then the representative from the car rental company arrived and picked us up. It’s about a 15 minutes car ride from the airport to where the company is, and while we were shown with our cars, we were slightly disappointed, as the cars seems to be a bit dated. It’s the first time I’ve rented a car in Japan that doesn’t have reverse sensor, nor electronic key fobs…. Nevertheless, everything was functioning well, and I mean, safety comes first right? So as long as it’s a safe car, we are happy.

I’ve went thru the T&C briefly, purchased the optional CDW (collision damage waive) at 1,080yen/day, signed the contract, and here we go on our road trip!

Must Read Japan Ishigaki Rakuen Rental Car Experience

Everything was fine with the car, only minor issues were every now and then, the GPS would go wack! It would all the sudden tell me to turn when there’s not a road, or it would suddenly show that I’m driving in the middle of the water lol. Half the time I ended up following my Google map on my phone instead.

On the 3rd day of the trip, when I was reversing the car, I must have gone blind, and crashed the rear of the car into the stone barrier. The bumper ended up with some very visible scratches and dint. As there were no third party involved, and the stone barrier was not damaged, so I just took some photos of the car and drove off.

Must Read Japan Ishigaki Rakuen Rental Car ExperienceMust Read Japan Ishigaki Rakuen Rental Car ExperienceMust Read Japan Ishigaki Rakuen Rental Car Experience

NOW THIS IS WHERE YOU NEED TO PAY ATTENTION!!

Continue reading “Pay Attention to the T&C When Renting a Car in Japan – Learn from My Mistake”

Hidden Pop-up Shack of Luke’s Lobster in Omotesando Tokyo

Travel Japan Tokyo Summer Special Luke's Lobster Popup Omotesando 東京期間限定人氣龍蝦包_01

It’s been a busy summer month, in a blink, it’s already the end of August! Just before we approach the end of summer, I must write and let you all know about this Luke’s Lobster Summer Pop-up Shack in Omotesando area of Tokyo!

Originated from New York City, Luke’s Lobster is now it’s spread across the whole of United States, and opened its first International shack in Tokyo a few years back. If you have been to it’s first location in Omotesando, you would know how crazy the line is. It doesn’t matter at what hours you go, there’s always people lining up for it.

Last time round when I was in Tokyo, I was surprised when I discovered the Summer Pop-up Shack of the brand, and the best part of it, there’s no line! It’s a bit different to the original location, it’s a small corner store where you can sit down and eat (the other one is at an outdoor location for take away only). As it’s a bit hidden, it seems like not many people (even locals!) knows about it.

Continue reading “Hidden Pop-up Shack of Luke’s Lobster in Omotesando Tokyo”

Top 5 Recommended Places to Visit near Mount Fuji

Travel Japan Yamanashi Fuji Five Lakes 日本富士河口湖

Continuing on from my last post about WHERE to STAY with the stunning Mount Fuji view, now I want to share with you my TOP 5 RECOMMENDED PLACES to visit near the Fuji 5 Lakes area.

Maple Leaves Tunnel (紅葉トンネル/もみじ回廊)

The Maple Leaves Tunnel is located near Lake Kawaguchi of Yamanashi Prefecture. Each year from late October until mid November, there will be a Maple Leave festival that’s held here, with many food stalls, and other small counters that sell local produce and hand made artifacts. One of the main attraction for this place is the Maple Leaves Tunnel – a long corridor filled with maple trees, with a small creek that runs in the middle.

Travel Japan Yamanashi Kawaguchiko Fuji Five Lakes Momiji Tunnel 日本 山梨 河口湖紅葉トンネル 回廊

Continue reading “Top 5 Recommended Places to Visit near Mount Fuji”

Hotel with Mount Fuji View for Under USD$100/person including MEALS!

Mount Fuji Yamadaya Hotel Review Japan Tokyo Yamanashi Travel COVER

Just imagine yourself sitting in an open air hot bathtub, having a glass of hot sake, and right in front of your eyes is the Mount Fuji sunset view surrounded by maple leaves?

Mount Fuji Yamadaya Hotel Review Japan Tokyo Yamanashi Travel 19

It’s the maple leaves season in Japan again, and one of the best place to see the leaves is at the Fuji Five Lake, which is about 2 hours drive from Tokyo. The five lakes are Kawaguchiko, Saiko, Yamanakaka, Shojiko, and Motosuko. It is one of the best places to view Mount Fuji from a close distance, and a great base for climbing the mountains.

Mount Fuji Yamadaya Hotel Review Japan Tokyo Yamanashi Travel MAP
Map of the Fuji Five Lakes area

There are many hotels around the areas of the Fuji Five Lakes, especially near Kawaguchiko, which is the biggest and the most touristic one. However, if you prefer something quieter, this hotel I’m going to talk about may just be the one for you!

This hotel is right in-front of Shojiko, which is the smallest lake out of the five. Comfortable rooms with Japanese traditional bedding, view of Mount Fuji in your room, private open air hot spring, and amazingly delicious meals all in one place. Better yet, you can get all these for under USD$100/persons! This is one you sure can’t miss.

Continue reading “Hotel with Mount Fuji View for Under USD$100/person including MEALS!”

Let’s Exercise in Tokyo – Indoor Batting Center

must-go-in-tokyo-japan-shinjuku-batting-center-12-02Bucket List Must Visit Japan Tokyo Shinjuku Batting Center

“Every single strike brings me closer to the next home run!!”

I’ve never played baseball in my life, but believe it or not, one of my must-do  when I’m in Tokyo Japan is actually to go hit some ball! Even though I know nothing about baseball, but it’s actually a very fun activity just swinging your bat and hit the ball (or miss most of the time like me).

Now, you may ask, where on Earth am I gonna find someone who’s gonna pitch, or where are you gonna find the bats? Don’t you worry, we are in Tokyo!! Nothing is impossible here! In Japan, they have something called the “batting cage”. It’s like a golf driving range, except it’s with baseball. All you need to bring is money, and yourself, then you are good to go!

My favourite one to go to is the “Shinjuku Batting Cage” right in the center of Kabuki-cho of Shinjuku. The place is hidden in the little alley behind the Toho cinema at Kabuki-cho, so you may not have seen it around.

Japan Tokyo Shinjuku Baseball Batting Cage 02
Exterior of the batting center
Japan Tokyo Shinjuku Baseball Batting Cage 01
How it looks like inside (Credit: Photo from internet)

Continue reading “Let’s Exercise in Tokyo – Indoor Batting Center”